Join PXL at the Top of the Grapevine
For Four Days of Clamping at Ft.Tejon!
We've had many a good time Clamping at Fort Tejon over the years, and it's one of the places the Brethren ask about the most when they want to know where we are going. The park is literally alongside Interstate 5, with the camping area tucked far enough away from the road to avoid the noise. Easy access will take you behind the parade grounds and historic buildings to the canyon where parking is on flat ground and tents can be erected on the lawn.
In the morning it's not unusual to see deer and other wildlife wandering the oak studded property. We have privacy; while at the same time we're camped close enough to walk to the main part of the park where our namesake, Peter Lebeck, rests beneath an ancient oak.
There's water and cell service available, and if you forgot something, there are stores and restaurants not far down the road. The only other thing to say about this is make sure you read the caveats at the end of the Doin's page, because Covid and the current drought has put some restrictions on us that we haven't had to deal with before when Clamping at Fort Tejon.
The establishment of Fort Tejon by the United States Army in 1854, recognized the strategic importance of the Grapevine Pass: the mountain gateway between the great Central Valley of California to the north and Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert to the south and east. Despite being at an elevation of 3500 feet, the availability of water year round made this the ideal place for a U.S. Army base perched at the edge of a desert, and particularly at a time when horse mounted "dragoons" were necessary for the protection of settlers and to keep the peace among native peoples. Even today, this spot is so critical to the economy of California that a snowfall, or for that matter, a traffic accident on Interstate 5, can mean a detour of 200 miles.
But back in the 1850's, Fort Tejon was no less an important hub for all kinds of human activity passing though the region. At one point it even became home to a herd of camels abandoned by a disgruntled government contractor who had brought the imported dromedaries from Texas to California, and then returned them to Uncle Sam by abandoning them at the fort.
Fort Tejon is also the 1857 historical reference point for what is estimated to have been the worst earthquake along the San Adreas Fault in recorded history. Possibly as large as a 7.9, and felt from Stockton to San Diego, the Fort Tejon Earthquake ruptured an area 225 miles long from Parkfield to San Bernardino, and created displacements as large as 21 feet.
For the Peter Lebeck Chapter of E Clampus Vitus, the site of Fort Tejon also has special meaning because it was where our Clampatriarch, Peter Lebeck, was killed by what was probably a rather p*ssed-off Grizzly Bear on October 17, 1837.
The old army base was abandoned by the U.S. Government in 1864, and the U.S. eventually ceded the land to the state of California, which maintains it today as a "Historic State Park." Some of the old buildings have been beautifully reconstructed and preserved, and the parade ground has become a lawn surrounded by old Canyon Oaks and rolling hills.
So Brothers, won't you please join us? You won't regret this. Fort Tejon is a peaceful place with plenty of ambiance and je ne sais quoi -- which in Pete's case turned out to be a bear, but don't let that keep you away from a good thing. We'd be honored to have you join us, and you'll be glad you did. To find out more, just go back to our Fall 2021 Doin's Page where you can get a copy of our infallible fillable flyer, sign-up electronically, and find a link to Google Maps.
To read about Clamping with Peter Lebeck in Kern County, just read on.
ABOUT CLAMPING WITH PETER LEBECK
Kern County is a big place and it covers all kinds of terrain: from the driest portions of the Mojave Desert, to the snowiest pine forests of the Sierra Nevada; from the oak woodlands of Walker Basin to the still wild grasslands of the San Joaquin Valley. Then of course there is Fort Tejon, Pine Mountain, the Kern River Valley, the Tehachapis, and…you get the drift. Kern County IS a BIG and interesting place.
And needless to say, we do try to get around. So if you are looking for something different, always make sure to look us up when you are planning your Clamping Calendar. If you've Clamped the desert, try the mountains. If you've Clamped the mountains, try the desert. But always make an effort check with us because we may be going someplace you'd really, really enjoy, and we do get around.
PXL Clampouts are not so large that you'll ever feel lost, and not so small that you'll ever feel like you're crashing someone's private party. Brothers visiting from other chapters are always made to feel welcome, and we especially encourage you to drop by if you live in Kern County or the adjoining areas of southern and central California.
At Peter Lebeck we plan two, full-weekend Clampouts every year, one in the spring and the other in the fall, and we favor overnight outings because we believe it is the surest way to make sure that each of our Brothers makes it home safely. At Peter Lebeck we also believe that Clamping is as much about plaquing as it is about camping and camaraderie, so we try to mount at least one erection every year and we try to Clamp near by. So won't you join us for the adventure? We'll make sure you get an extra helping of Timbo's beans.